Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Light Given

September 30, 2008

Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church

Why is light given to the toilers, and life to the bitter in spirit? They wait for death and it comes not; they search for it rather than for hidden treasures, Rejoice in it exultingly, and are glad when they reach the grave: Men whose path is hidden from them, and whom God has hemmed in! Job 3:20-23

On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. Luke 9:52-53


LORD, my God, I call out by day; at night I cry aloud in your presence. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry. For my soul is filled with troubles; my life draws near to Sheol. I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit; I am weak, without strength. Psalm 88:2-5


“I never promised you a rose garden.” This week, the suffering part of Jesus’ servant-hood is revealed. This week, we witness the despair and faith of Job in the first reading. As Job suffers through life, so too does Jesus. Jesus sets out on his journey to Jerusalem once again facing rejection. Earlier in Luke’s Gospel Jesus was rejected in him own home town. Today, we see the Samaritans reject Jesus, foreshadowing the further rejection that will be inflicted by the trial and execution.

Cursillista Frank McCleskey reminds us of these difficulties. He tells of a picture of Jesus that his daughter put up on her mirror around the time she was about sixteen. Around the picture she wrote: “I never promised you that is would be easy. I only promised you that it would be worth it.”

Today was probably not an easy day for Jesus as he is accompanied by his disciples on this journey. They want to extract some measure of revenge in the village but Jesus rejects the rejection and moves on. Although Jesus is not welcomed, he does not call down punishment on the people in Samaria.

As we undertake our journey this week, our Mass schedule is filled with celebrations of several key saints and angels. Yesterday, we remembered the archangels Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael. Today St. Jerome and later this week St. Theresa and St. Francis of Assisi. Who else beyond this cloud of witnesses is accompanying you on your journey? What kind of company will they provide? In Sunday’s readings, we and the Philippians were encouraged in the second reading with the following advice:

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:1-5


Jesus tries to be the example of the attitude of love for the disciples to follow. They don’t always follow Jesus’ advice. Whether today with them wanting to call down punishment or in Gethsemane when they cut off the ear of the servant, Jesus never gives up on them despite the challenges that life with them provides.

Jesus never gives up on us either. His constant call to conversion is never pulled back. There is no RSVP deadline. The invitation is open until we choose to accept his call to work in the vineyard.

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